Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has said that boss Jurgen Klopp has a number of ways to beat Arsenal up his sleeve – without Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane.
Fears emerged about a drop in potency from Liverpool up front following the duo’s departure for Africa Cup of Nations duty. Indeed, the pair are the club’s chief attacking outlets up front.
Liverpool struggled to break Arsenal down in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final last week.
Either side of that result, though, the Reds scored four against Shrewsbury and three against Brentford. Fabinho has netted two goals in three games and fellow midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also scored against Brentford.
Liverpool return to action against the Gunners in their semi-final second leg on Thursday. Speaking ahead of the match, assistant boss Lijnders insisted that his side have learned not to rely on Mane and Salah.
“Especially after last season we knew that we needed to create different weapons,” the Dutchman told a press conference.
“Goals from everywhere, last passes from everywhere, dribbles from everywhere not just based on counter-attacks or the speed of these two boys.
“They give us so much direction in our game, but what I like is that we don’t have one weapon. We have so many different ways to attack.
“How we are evolving as a team is important and I really like it.”
However, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be absent against his former club Arsenal. The 28-year-old suffered an ankle injury after scoring against the Bees, but could return against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Thiago Alcantara and Divock Origi also remain out. The former could make his comeback against Cardiff in the FA Cup next month, with Origi likely to return after that.
Finally, Harvey Elliott will not play against Arsenal and will instead stay in team training to build up his fitness.
The 18-year-old has recovered from an ankle injury he picked up in September but needs more work before he can play again.
Lijnders provides Liverpool, Elliott update
“Let me say it like this, he didn’t lose his football brain!” Lijnders said of the teenager.
“He shows immediately what he’s about. It would be a crime if you would not play him if he trains like this, but we know it’s just the start of his start with the team training.
“He needs time and we go step by step, of course.
“Some players they never knock on the door, they run through it – and he’s one of them.”
Aside from last week’s 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Arsenal, the Reds beat their rivals 4-0 in Premier League action in December.
Last term, they won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Salah.